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Medical Website Security and HIPAA Web Audit Requirements


Note: this article is the fourth in a five-part article series on healthcare website development and medical website design.
View Part 1 | View Part 2 View Part 3 | View Part 5

The HIPAA Privacy & Security Audit Program is a newly implemented government system to ensure that all medical businesses and agencies are compliant with HIPAA standards. Many healthcare practitioners have been briefed on how to prepare their physical location for a HIPAA audit, but preparing your website security standards for the audit may seem more difficult. Read on for an overview.

What is a HIPAA Audit?

How to Prepare for a HIPAA Audit

In general, the main thing to remember as you prepare for a HIPAA audit is that if your practice is already complying with HIPAA standards (and you most likely are), you have nothing to worry about. Familiarize yourself with the protocol and the HIPAA audit requirements so that you know what to expect, and take steps to have significant documentation of your HIPAA standards and processes. The issue for most healthcare organizations isn’t one of complying with HIPAA audit requirements, but rather being able to quickly and efficiently prove adherence to standards.

The thing to understand is that there is no governing body that "HIPAA certifies" your site. The body provides a set of guidelines and expects everyone to follow them. If you do, then there's a 99% chance you'll never be audited. If you have a breach, then you'll be audited and will have to prove that you were doing your best to follow the guidelines. If you were, then you'll be fine (i.e. for example if the hosting facility had a physical breach and data was leaked from multiple sites, etc.). So make sure you pick a developer who knows and understands how to protect you and follows the guidelines in their development practices.

 

Encryption is the Key to Security

Your Medical Website Security and Data Audits

Once we turn on auditing for an application, it will return XML blocks, or organized data that contains field names, the identity of the user who changed a particular field, the old value, the new value, and more.

If you have a HIPAA compliant website, then your auditing process within the website already exists. It is important to understand how this auditing process works. First of all, the connection to look for will ideally be a 256-bit SSL encrypted connection, which makes data impossible to read except by authorized personnel on the receiving and sending ends. HIPAA compliant websites are encrypted in this way not just on the transmission level but on the data level, as well. You need to be able to audit your own data, which means you’re able to track logins and who sees or changes information.

Experienced HIPAA Developers

Designing to Survive a Medical Website Security Audit

External audits aside, Clarity website designers have internal HIPAA audit requirements in mind, too. We use an automated tool that allows us to create a data structure and turn on a base of code that can create audit trails dynamically through the whole process with our HIPAA compliant development strategy. Once we turn on auditing for an application, it will return XML blocks, or organized data that contains field names, the identity of the user who changed a particular field, the old value, the new value, and more. This makes it extremely easy for administrators to access and prove HIPAA compliance. All they need to do is pull up their dashboard in the administrator role, and display their audit trail. contact Clarity today if you’re interested in taking the headache out of HIPAA audit requirements.


To learn more about medical website development, please read:
 

 

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